50 Natives: West Virginia: Allium tricoccum – Ramps

It is spring and it is Ramp season. Ramps are type of wild onion/leek that are native to much of the eastern US but are revered as a welcome spring herald in West Virginia. Mountain people (is that PC for Hillbilly?) of the Southeast honor these savory plants and celebrate the occasion of their emergence with festivals. The pungent vernal greenery is their spring tonic as part of a tradition that has been passed for many generations and was also know to native Americans.

ramps t-shirt

You can buy this Ramps festival t-shirt here.

Did you know that the City of Chicago was named for the Ramp? The Menomini Indians called them pikwute sikakushia (skunk plant), and they referred to an area near the southern shore of Lake Michigan, where ramps grew abundantly, as CicagaWuni or shikako (skunk place). The term was later applied to a settlement now known as Chicago.

Their mild flavor is popular with Chefs and you can order some online and find great recipes at Earthy Delights . — Or you can plant this great native in your garden.

ramps wild leeks west virginia native

1. ramps3-shushan-UMS-0508, 2. leek shoots, 3. A Field of Ramp, 4. Wild Leek, 5. ramps, 6. Ramps (Wild Leek)

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Tatyana on April 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Interesting post, thanks!

  2. mary spring on April 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I would love any information on wild edibles native to New Hampshire and where to gather them.
    I live in Rochester N.H. very close to the forests of conway.

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